Leading owner Sabine Plattner has never looked back since the appointment of Yogas Govender to head her powerful strings on the Cape West Coast and in KwaZulu-Natal, and the familiar green, indigo and gold silks look to be too strong in the topliner at Clairwood on Tuesday. The powerful outfit despatches a coupling that stands out in a field lacking in serious depth.
A well patronised ten-race programme awaits punters at Clairwood, where sizeable exotic dividends look a real possibility. Pools should also be boosted by the rather pleasant thought, for most of us, that month-end is here.
Yogas Govender sends out a coupling of Danish Silver and Storm Sagaz and Pick 6 punters look to have a ready-made banker coupling option in a race that, with all due respect, boasts some rather uninspiring looking opposition amongst the remaining six runners – except, possibly, for the improving Desert Raptor.
It is difficult to think that Govender is only in his third season of training racehorses, and the young man with twelve years experience to his name, has a solid pedigree. He has worked for top men like Michael Dickinson in America and Glen Kotzen down in the Cape, and is showing the well-rounded talents that come with learning from the right people. His work ethic and professionalism, coupled with the good results, is there for the world to see.
There is very little to choose between his two runners, who have bumped heads five times in 2012.
The 8yo Danish Silver holds a narrow edge over 6yo Storm Sagaz, having finished ahead of him three times. That said, he has always received weight from Storm Sagaz and was narrowly beaten twice, even when in receipt of 2kgs and 1,5kgs respectively.
In this race Danish Silver receives 1,5kgs from his stablemate, courtesy of the apprentice allowance and may just have his beating again. A winner of six races, the Plattner home-bred always gives of his best and while probably past his peak, would only need to deliver something close to his best to win this.
We have to go back six runs for his last win which was achieved on 21 February. That was an MR 92 Handicap over 1900m at Greyville when apprentice Donovan Dillon – who rides him here – partnered him to a meritorious one length win over Zezinho Campeao. Storm Sagaz , from whom Danish Silver was receiving 3 kgs, was 3,50 lengths adrift in fourth.
Danish Silver showed his wellbeing with a solid third and 1,75 lengths off another Govender runner and his half-brother, Petite Master, in an MR 90 Handicap over 2000m at Greyville last time. It was a good run, as he was giving the winner 2,5kgs and was eased late in the running.
The Argentinian-bred Storm Sagaz has had quite a tough recent campaign, contesting races like the Lonsdale and then the Gold Vase at his last start, and has run a total of 8200m in his three races since 2 June. Those testing efforts may have taken the edge off him but he has had seven weeks to recharge his batteries. The son of Bernstein is also infinitely more comfortable over this distance and could bounce back to his best in this company under the aggressive Sean Veale.
The biggest threat to the Govender coupling could well be provided by the very hot combination of jockey Stuart Randolph and trainer Alec Laird, who team up with the talented 4yo Silvano gelding, Desert Raptor. He has done little wrong since a maiden win at his third start and while he is probably a little too close to Danish Silver on the weights to beat the carded topweight, we must take cognisance of the fact that he is a fairly lightly raced horse and probably the only runner in the field with scope for genuine improvement.
Desert Raptor ran third and one length behind Ice Diamond at his last outing, but that one flopped when running sixth to the classy In A Rush at Scottsville last Tuesday. Desert Raptor won his penultimate easing up when lumping 59,5kgs – but that particular race was a lot weaker than this.
He finished 3,75 lengths ahead of Mainspring last time when conceding 2kgs and now carries an additional kilo, which should still see him finishing ahead of the Kannemeyer runner.
At the bottom of the weights, the Badger’s Drift gelding Mainspring is a reformed character since leaving Cape Town a one-time winner late last year. He has won three of his nine starts in KZN, ranging from 1900m to 2500m and while out at the weights, is always running on late and could snatch a place cheque.
The Jet Master gelding Macchiato cost a fortune as a yearling and has never fulfilled the heady expectations of his owners. His relocation from the Dean Kannemeyer yard in Cape Town to Charles Laird in KwaZulu-Natal has done little to inspire his enthusiasm and his last few runs have been poor.
He returns from a 72 day rest which may see him refreshed and revitalised but the only visible aspect in his favour appears to be the engagement of SA Champion jockey Anton Marcus.
Ivan Moore’s Australian-bred son of Royal Academy, De La Danza is an unsound but capable sort, who has lost his form at his recent starts. He did however show some improvement at his last outing when running 3.80 lengths behind Petite Master in an MR 90 Handicap over 2000m at Greyville.
The Western Winter gelding Komatipoort carries the Mike Bass Racing flag and is another fellow who is battling to assert himself. His last four runs over distances ranging from a mile to 2500m have produced nothing and while he is a fairly genuine staying sort when things go his way, he looks an unlikely winner of this.
Sean Tarry’s Hors D’oeuvre is a two time-winner who has not won in over a year and his recent form is uninspiring to say the least.
Handicaps are probably not the ideal environment to place one’s head on a block. But this race looks a straight shootout between the Govender pair. There is no guarantee of a genuine pace, but that gives us more confidence to give Danish Silver the vote. Young Dillon has won on him from the front previously and they could go up and dictate matters.
Desert Raptor is improving fast and may run another good race – in which case he may upset the applecart, and our calculations in the process.